Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Merritt soccer team wins first BVC title

    The Merritt College Thunderbirds men’s soccer team eclipsed its best finish to date with a resounding 4–0 drubbing of the Yuba College 49ers on Nov. 1. The route all but cemented the T-Birds’ position atop the Bay Valley Conference (BVC) standings.

    The win brought Coach Zach Sullivan’s side’s record to 12–3–3 (wins-losses-draws) overall for the season, one better than Merritt’s previous best record of 10–7–3 set in 2010. The T-Birds’ victory over the 49ers all but cemented the first BVC title in school history.

    BVC rival Contra Costa College could have drawn level on points should the Comets have won all four of their remaining conference matches. However, Merritt cemented its position with a 4–1 win over CCC on Nov. 5.

    Merritt’s performance thus far has not escaped the notice of the pollsters, either. The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), which is responsible for ranking teams, had Merritt sitting at №9 in its Northern California poll as of Oct. 30.

    It is Merritt’s highest ranking as well, five places higher than their 16th place finish in 2010.

    Against Yuba, Merritt looked every bit the part of a BVC champion. The Thunderbirds began the match on the front foot, pegging Yuba back into their own half for large portions of the game.

    For their part, the 49ers’ intentions were clear. Packing 10 men behind the ball for the bulk of the first half, they showed that they were not playing to win, but rather to avoid losing. It was a long time coming, but eventually freshman center-midfielder Francisco Mendoza put Merritt ahead 1–0 in the 24th minute.

    The goal, the result of a brilliant through-ball and run into the right channel, came after Mendoza coolly slotted home a right-footed finish between the Yuba goalkeeper and the near post.

    Though Merritt made multiple forays in behind the Yuba defense, the score remained at 1–0 in favor of the T-Birds when the referee whistled for halftime.

    A second-half shift in tactics by Yuba proved advantageous for Merritt, however. The 49ers, now at a disadvantage, were forced out of their defensive shell. Committing men forward to the attack left them vulnerable in the back and gave Merritt’s creative players room to maneuver.

    11-07 Merritt v Yuba

    The net effect was three second-half goals for the T-Birds. Mendoza completed a hat trick, netting two more goals of his own in the 65th and 78th minutes. Perhaps the best goal of the match came in the 76th minute.

    Merritt was once again pressing their advantage when a poorly cleared ball fell to freshman left-back Sean Walker. His right-footed volley from 20 yards out curled past the keeper, dipping just enough miss the crossbar and nestle neatly in the back of the net.

    Looking forward, Merritt’s position in the Northern California regional playoffs is all but secure. Fourteen teams representing the region’s seven conferences will enter the playoffs, scheduled to begin Saturday, Nov. 23.

    The 14 participating teams will be seeded by the CCCAA with the top two seeds receiving a first-round bye.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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